Drone flyover lands Montreal man $1,000 fine
Jesse Tahirali, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, December 28, 2014 7:05PM EST
Trying to make money with a drone can be costly, as one Montreal man recently found out.
Julien Gramigna was slapped with a $1,000 fine for using his unmanned aircraft to take a video of a house for sale last June.
Though he had permission from the homeowner and the real estate agent, Transport Canada wasn’t happy with the fly-by. According to the government, Gramigna didn’t have permission to operate the aircraft for commercial purposes.
According to the Transport Canada website, unmanned aircrafts can fly without a permit if they weigh less than 35 kilograms and are flown only for recreational purposes.
Drones under 25 kilograms can be flown for commercial or research purposes if they meet a long list of exemption requirements, including having at least $100,000 liability insurance, flying only during daylight and staying a certain distance away from people, animals, buildings, structures and vehicles.
Anyone wishing to use a drone that doesn’t meet the requirements must apply for a permit before taking off.
But while the Transport Canada website now has infographics and charts to guide fliers, Gramigna said that wasn’t the case in the summer.
“In June, the regulation weren’t as clear are they are today,” he said in French.
Transport Canada’s new rules were created in November to distinguish between commercial and recreational drone use. But for a photographer and videographer like Gramigna, the difference between business and pleasure isn’t easy to define.
“What happens when we publish our videos on YouTube? We have that right, for personal use,” he said. “If we watermark those videos, do they become commercial? Just to share with friends?”
Gramigna said he plans to contest the ticket he received, but also said current regulations for commercial drone use are far too prohibitive for a growing industry.
With a report from CTV Montreal